IntroCurrently in my freezer there is one last slice of ice cream pie. Next to that, a loaf pan of semifreddo minus one bite-size crater removed from its surface. In the fridge a pan of brownies teeters on a bowl of pudding. In the drawer where the vegetables should live, there is beer and a bag filled (well, not quite as full as it was yesterday) with homemade Snickers candy bars. Everything but the candy bars are for the book. These are for you. Well, so are the book recipes but this recipe is for right now. Seeing that it is October and the conversation around our dinner table often centers around what each of the kidlets want to be for Halloween (Ivy is currently planning to be a Hello Kitty princess) it seemed appropriate that we make some candy.
It’s a multi-step process but completely worth it. In it you’ll master both nougat and caramel and be left with dozens of little peanut-laden candy bars. If you choose to share this bounty you’ll be met with high praise and life-long admiration for your efforts.
makes 3 dozen (depending on desired finished size)
For the peanut nougat:
3/4 cup / 160 g sugar
1/4 cup / 75 g light corn syrup
2 tablespoons / 40 g honey
1/4 cup / water
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup / 130 g smooth peanut butter
8 oz/ 1 cup / 228 g sugar
6 oz/ 1/2 cup / 170 g Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1/4 cup water
6 oz/ 3/4 cup / 170 g heavy cream
2 oz/ 4 tablespoons / 57 g butter, soft
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups roasted and salted peanuts
1 1/2 pounds milk chocolate
1 tablespoon oil
Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan then line it with parchment paper so that a few inches are left hanging over the side. Set aside.
In a saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey and water. Stir gently then wash down the sides of the pan with water. Cover the pot with a lid and set over medium high heat. Remove the lid after 5 minutes then continue to cook until the sugar reaches 275 degrees F.
While the sugar syrup is boiling place the egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start the machine on low, add the salt and beat until frothy. Increase the speed to medium and beat until stiff peaks form.
Drizzle in the hot syrup down the side of the stand mixer while it is running. Try to avoid pouring the syrup over the whisk so the hot syrup doesn’t splatter. Continue to beat the nougat until it cools slightly and starts to pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This entire process should take 3-4 minutes.
Butter a spatula then stir in the the creamy peanut butter until well mixed. Add the nougat to the prepared, spreading evenly with the buttered spatula.
Set aside and let stand while you prepare the caramel.
Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a large saucepan. Stir gently to combine then wash off the sides of the pan using water and your clean hands to feel if any sugar remains on the side. If stray bits of sugar fall into the caramel it can cause the caramel to crystallize so it’s important to make sure all the sugar is in the bottom of the pan mixed with the water.
Place the lid on the pan and put over high heat. Having the lid on during the first few minutes of boiling creates condensation that further helps to wash away any sugar that may be left on the sides of the pan. After 5 minutes remove the lid and let the caramel continue to boil until it reaches 300 degrees F. If some of the caramel starts to color you can gently swirl the pot to combine.
Add the cream, butter and vanilla seeds once it has reached 300 degrees F and then continue to cook until the caramel reaches 248 degrees F. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts. Pour the caramel over the nougat. Let sit at room temperature for 40 minutes then refrigerated until completely firm, about 30 minutes.
optional: add some flake salt to the caramel layer before covering them in chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or using a bain marie on the stove. Stir in the oil.
Cut the candy bar into 1 inch squares and dip into the melted chocolate.
Set aside on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Place the candy bars in the refrigerator to set up.
These candy bars will keep for three weeks in the refrigerator or two months in the freezer.
*There have been a number of people having a hard time with the consistency of the caramel. You really need an accurate thermometer for this. The ChefAlarm from Thermoworks is my current favorite. It’s fast, easy to read, works for both candy and meat and clips onto the pan so you don’t have to burn your hand while holding it in the pot.